397 horses are now eligible for the Triple Crown series through the early nomination process. Only horses made eligible to the Triple Crown can compete in the Kentucky Derby (May 5th), Preakness Stakes (May 19th), or Belmont Stakes (June 11th). The Kentucky Derby field is limited to 20 and will include four also eligibles this year. The Derby field is comprised of the horses with the most graded stakes earnings.
The Triple Crown nominations increased 9.1 percent from last year’s 364 early nominees. The early nomination period, which includes a nomination fee of $600, closed January 21. For owners that missed this deadline with hopes of running horses in any of the Triple Crown races, the nomination fee increases to $6,000. The late nomination period closes March 24.
The leading three-year-olds in the country and those that strive to reach this level are included in the nominations. Some of those nominated include Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Two-Year-Old Champion, Hansen, Holy Bull winner Algorithms, and Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis winner I’ll Have Another.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Kentucky Derby with Super Saver in 2010, leads the nominations among trainers with 32 horses nominated to the Triple Crown. Bob Baffert is next in line with 21 and trainers Steve Assmussen and Nick Zito both have 15 nominated runners. Louisville-based trainer Dale Romans has 14 horses nominated for the Crown. In all, 34 trainers are represented among the 397 nominations.
Ahmed Zayat’s Zayat Stables LLC leads the nominations among owners with 13. Although Zayat is yet to win a Kentucky Derby, his horses have finished second in two of the last three runnings of the race. Zayat’s Pioneerof The Nile was second to Mine That Bird in 2009 and Nehro was second behind Animal Kingdom last year.
Of the 397 nominated, 344 are colts, 37 are geldings, 10 ridglings, and 6 fillies. 303 were born in Kentucky and 2 were born in Indiana. 14 international born horses are included in the early nominations.
For a complete list of nominees, click here .
Brisnet is providing free online past performances for each of this year’s 397 nominees. Click here  to download the PDF file.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby